Thursday, March 03, 2016

Some Grumbling Over Berry Bus Plan At City Council But Not Much More, Plus: The Donald And NM, Martineznomics And A Sayanora In Santa Fe  

You would think that with the intense and emotional opposition that has built throughout the city against Mayor Berry's ABQ rapid transit plan (ART) that at least one of the nine city councilors would be leading the charge to slow down the project. It would run rapid buses down a 10 mile section of a revamped Central Avenue, a plan that has drawn heated protests at recent public meetings.

GOP Councilor Brad Winter takes note of the opposition to the project in his NE Heights district saying,  "I know it's the Mayor's  project but we have many road projects that need to be done in my district. I went some help for them." But will Winter move to put the brakes on the buses? It doesn't appear so. Ditto for Dem Councilors Klarissa Pena and Pat Davis. They say it's the Mayor's project and there's nothing they can do but try to make sure it works.

The same impotence was displayed by the council when it came to the APD crisis that has cost the city tens of millions. The council also followed the Mayor's lead in ignoring the city's job crisis which was again crystallized when last month there were 10,000 applicants for 290 jobs at the new Cheesecake Factory restaurant. None of the councilors made a peep.

What the city council needs is a couple of members with fire in the belly. We already have plenty of chair warmers.

(Here's some video of Councilor Ike Benton being accosted over ART at a public meeting this week. Mayor Berry was not at that ART meeting or any of the others held recently).


Gov. Martinez has endorsed Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination only a day after refusing to say whether she would vote for Trump. Martinez's endorsement comes as Rubio launches a critical campaign to take Florida on March 15 or likely be forced out of the race. One Alligator opined that Rubio is the GOP establishment's kamikaze pilot against Trump and the GOP grassroots. If so, Martinez is now one of the co-pilots.


Could Donald Trump somehow put New Mexico back in play for the R's in the presidential race? His candidacy is so unpredictable that the question has come up, even though NM is classified as a solid blue state for the presidency.

Hillary Clinton drew heavy Hispanic support on Super Tuesday (67% according to exit polls) and veteran Dem speech writer and political adviser Bob Shrum believes that will play against Trump in states like ours:

(Trump is) speaking to a group of people for whom conservatism is not a set of principles and programs, but a collection of grievances, alienations and angers. And he expresses that and they’re not going to leave him unless he does something really atrocious. But Shrum cautioned that he doesn’t think Trump can get the share of the white vote high enough to overcome what will be a solid minority vote against him. “It will make Romney look like the king of Cinco de Mayo,” he said.


Reader Richard Flores has reaction to ABQ businessman Kevin Yearout's high praise of Governor Martinez's management of the state economy that we carried here this week:

Yearout claims that under Martinez we are moving forward toward making things better for our citizens and our businesses. I'm not sure what citizens and businesses he is talking about. In the past 3-4 years I have seen more panhandlers and homeless people on the streets of Albuquerque than in my previous 25 years living here. Furthermore, I have not previously seen so many boarded up businesses as over the past few years. In a thriving economy this would not be the case. Maybe Mr. Yearout has a crystal ball that most of the rest of us are not privvy to because the statistics do not support his assessment. And if he sees a turnaround in the future, we may be a ghost town by the time the Martinez strategy bears fruit. Such an insular view does not reflect reality, and only serves to detract attention from the dismal failures of the Martinez administration. I appreciate reading the diverse opinions in your blog, but to attribute a macro style economic shift to an administration that has been "stuck in neutral" for six years? I don't get it.


Councilor Bushee
She's served on the Santa Fe city council since 1994--the longest run ever--and made two unsuccessful runs for Mayor, but now it's time for Patti Bushee to say sayonara. And she does so in an insighful way. Asked what needs to happen for the city to turn the corner and get on better economic footing, she answered:

The last two mayors. . . have had kind of a government bureaucrat mindset, and that is not reality. And so when it comes to balancing the budget or running an enterprise fund like the water company, you really have to approach it differently. It cannot be that it is just a slush fund. It is not sustainable. And that is what I mean about not saying no to some big things. . . I really wanted to change how we did business over there. And nobody wants to, nobody really wants to make change that way. … To some degree, people inherit jobs over there. . . that kind of system has to change. That old pattern of cronyism. . .

Santa Fe's government is again preparing to rob the city water fund to plug a deficit that is up to $18 million. The hard choice of reducing the city's padded political payroll that was larded up during the boom years is receiving scant attention, to the regret of Bushee.


Reader Phil Gasteyer in Corrales writes:

Joe, A small correction. The Village of Los Ranchos elects trustees at large, with two slots being filled Tuesday. Both incumbents--Allen Lewis and Mary Homan--were re-elected. Diane Albert was the third candidate.

Thanks, Phil. On Election Night we had first blogged that Lewis had been defeated.

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